11-12/05/2013 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay
The original plan was to do Wheengee Whungee Creek, but a knee injury to me meant a last minute change of plans. A bushwalk seemed like a better idea than a canyon. Compagnoni Pass had been on our hit list for some time. We had tried to do it several years ago with a friend, over three days, but horrible weather on the second day meant a direct exit off the Kowmung to Thousand Man Cave. Two days was little more ambitious, but seemed doable, even though we didn't really know anything about Compagnoni Pass!
Surprisingly there was no-one camped at Boyd River on the Friday night, given that the forecast was for a beautiful weekend. It was Mother's Day on the Sunday, but still... The only other times I've seen Boyd River so empty have been when it's been pissing down with rain! That said, it was bloody cold overnight. Boyd River is some kind of a frost hollow.
Kanangra Walls were absolutely spectacular on the Saturday morning. Smoke from the hazard reduction burn in the Wild Dogs earlier in the week had settled in the valleys, creating a mystical look. I could have stayed for ages taking photos, but we had a long day ahead of us.
We trotted down the Gingra Range to the Kowmung. I was feeling my knee a little by around Fourth Top, but decided to push on. By early afternoon we had filled up water from Gingra Creek, and set off up Willa Buttress. The bottom was steep and it was weedy for a while, but opened out nicely higher up. We had no idea where we would camp, though a flat spot on the ridge on the map offered some hope. In the end it turned out to be more sloping than flat, though we squeezed out enough flattish space for one tent and settled in for a pleasant evening around the campfire. In contrast to the night before, the temperature was very warm, and carrying our heavy sleeping bags had been quite a waste!
The next morning we headed up the steepening ridge towards where we hoped to find Compagnoni Pass. This section was scrubby and bouldery, but we hit the cliffline at a large camp cave that would have been useful to have known about the night before! We guessed that the pass would be to our right, and after ten minutes or so, hit some spikes in the lower cliffline. Both clifflines were pretty easy, with some spikes and chains, though the rock is a bit slippery. There were some great views of the Kowmung blanketed in cloud from the top of the pass.
I expected plenty of scrub on the Ti Willa Plateau, but for the most part it was pleasant and easy walking, and there were pads through most of the thicker sections. Just before the end of the plateau we took a detour down to Hundred Man Cave for a look, since neither of us had been there before. Then it was up to Cloudmaker for morning tea and a read of the log book.
We took a track to the wrong (south) side of Rumble, but in doing so were treated to spectacular views down the Gangerangs from a rocky outcrop.
Then it was down the range to Mt Berry for lunch. The conglomerate cliffs at its southern point offer great views of Crafts Wall and Kanangra Walls. My fitness seemed to have taken a beating because even with reduced weight in my pack, I struggled up from Gabes Gap.
From there it was a two-hour push back to the car. We bumped into the only people we saw all weekend, doing the short walk out to the lookout near the Gingra Track junction. Other than them, we had had the entire Kanangra area to ourselves on an absolutely gorgeous walking weekend.